Six Ways to Avoid Back Pain While Gardening

Spring is here and in Nebraska that means it is time to get to work in the garden. Follow these six tips to avoid back pain while tending to your garden:

  1. Good posture– don’t let your spine round for a long time. Focus on keeping your spine long. Depending on the health of your back, you could sit on the ground, use a bucket or a low chair, stand up or work on all fours. Find which position is most comfortable for you! The most important thing to remember, no matter which position you choose, is to have excellent posture.
  2. Use the right tools– find pruners, shovels, rakes, and other garden necessities designed with ergonomic, cushioned grips. Your muscles will thank you.
  3. Mix it up- one reason gardeners feel incredibly sore after a long day working in the yard is because they repeated the same motion over and over again. Doing the same task repeatedly stresses your muscles. Mix up your “To-Do List” to keep your muscles guessing. Plant for half an hour, move on to raking, then go back to planting.
  4. Recruit Help– offer the kids or grandkids a small allowance for helping in the yard! It would be a great time to bond as well as make your garden look beautiful. If you have to lift something heavy, always ask for an extra hand or use a wheelbarrow to move items from Point A to B. Also, if you’re lifting alone, always lift from the legs and hips, they are much more capable of handling heavy loads.
  5. Elevate Your Beds and Containers– who says all your flowers have to be in the ground? To save your back, plant flowers in pots that are elevated and easy for you to reach.
  6. STRETCH and ICE– when a muscle works, the amount of blood flow increases to that area of the body, causing it to swell and become sore. One way to reduce the swelling is to ice that area. Taking an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas to your back after a long day of gardening will reduce the swelling of the inflamed muscles, helping to reduce soreness. And the best way to reduce soreness is to STRETCH. Locate which muscles hurt the most and take the time to stretch them. Your muscles worked hard all day, treat them well.

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